Don't Let's Call It a Diet, I Sing the Body Electric, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Roomy Toe Boxes, The Inner Landscape

“Martha posted Desire on Typepad”

I've linked my Facebook account to my blog, and when I post here, a little note appears on my Facebook Wall. After my last post, it skipped part of the title and announced, "Martha posted Desire on Typepad."

And it occurs to me that I gave a pretty contained review of a book that in fact roiled me.

I can relate to Susan Cheever's desire, in my own way.

I'm not a drinker, although I've been known to enjoy an anniversary Cosmopolitan or a few glasses of champagne at the Big Event. But when the rheumatologist informed me that my RA medication would not go well with alcohol, I didn't have a problem with the news.

I'm definitely not a gambler. Okay, I gambled once, when Pure Luck and I spent 24 hours in Las Vegas. He gave me a roll of quarters and I promptly lost it in the slot machines. He was more successful. When the last quarter went in, he kept his winnings and walked away with $14.

My experience with any sort of illegal substances is limited to one substance, one time, and I think that makes me pretty innocent for someone my age.

You and I know where my weakness lies. When I feel that sort of empty that has nothing to do with being hungry, I eat. Reading the addiction book opens up concerns I've had throughout the weight loss process. Weight Watchers roots its plans in a moderation approach. I've written before about my own resistance to abstinence. Cheever quotes someone who says abstinence for food addicts is like taking the tiger out of the cage three times a day. You cannot give food up completely.

I've written about how abstinence terrifies me:

Probably other times, too. I think it's possible that a person who thinks about it as much as I have may need to consider it. It might turn out to be simpler than trying to figure out some way to snack without going overboard.

"Martha posted Desire on Typepad."

Over the last year, more and more people who know me in real life, and through church, read my blog, and as I look back over the old posts from Set Free about taking better care of myself, I realize I wrote more emotionally, more openly. That stopped when I became ill last spring, so that ironically my effort to get out of the birdcage and begin something new led to very careful management of how I communicated my feelings. I didn't do it to protect my readers. I sheltered myself.

It's difficult to be clear about your feelings when you cushion them in bubble wrap, whether that means the shielding of sadness or the padding of pudding. Rheumatoid Arthritis appeared to have dashed my desires of a year ago like a piece of china flung to the floor.

Some of those inclinations and wishes seem funny now. I'll never wear high heels again, but how often had I worn them anyway? I actually like a lot of the shoes with Roomy Toe Boxes.

Others feel like a real loss. It's hard to imagine ever having the energy to hike a whole mountain again; when I think of my feeling of accomplishment and joy to be able to do that in the fall of 2007, and how I assumed there would be plenty more of it to come–well, I guess it's understandable I grieved.

Or that I feel aggrieved.

But as Snowman likes to say, "I don't want to be that guy." Or that bird. I want to be the one who figures out how to live in the new situation and makes the best of it. So perhaps that sometimes makes me too eager to skip a step, or too hard on myself for having gone through a phase in which I resorted to familiar coping techniques.


I know from experience that getting clean around food, whether you follow a plan of moderation or abstinence, opens up caves I would prefer to remain sealed. I know it. My fear of RA-related deformities ties right into my fear of abandonment, with a special twist of "my mother didn't like to see people who looked different in any way."

She didn't like to see me look fat, either.

"Martha posted Desire on Typepad."

What I desired a year ago seems pretty innocent and wholesome for the most part: to keep losing weight until I reached my goal, to wear clothes that looked flattering, to hike with my husband, to feel alive, to do my work well, to support and enjoy my children. I still have all those desires.

I guess this bird's work in 2009 will be figuring out whether RA will really prevent any of those, or whether it's my feelings about RA creating the barrier.

17 thoughts on ““Martha posted Desire on Typepad””

  1. I’ve been typing and deleting responses in the comment box here for a good half hour now. There’s so much in this post that is sharp and pointy and poignant.
    There’s nothing wrong with shielding yourself when you need shielding. Giving yourself time and distance when you need them. Who’s going to do it for you? I think you handled yourself with more grace than most of us would have.
    As for your mother. Well. She can’t do or undo anything any more. And you don’t need to act on her behalf. (I know, that’s easy to say and not so easy to stop doing. Boy, do I know.)
    I hope you achieve your desires and others that you haven’t even thought of yet. So what if you need to adjust the definition of “hike” down a little bit from “mountain conquering?”

  2. Thank you for this. You may experience yourself as less open and more guarded, but I am continually blown away by your capacity for honesty and self-reflection.
    Much love to you.

  3. You are a wise woman, my friend, and your grace and self-knowledge are a gift to us all. Hugs and love and prayers as you embark on the work of 2009 xxxx

  4. This is such a powerful piece of writing. I especially love “The shielding of sadness or the padding of pudding.”
    You are so brave! to write about this. It brings tears to my eyes.

  5. Awwww, ((((((SB)))))!
    So sorry for this, but thanks for your honesty and openness on such a painful topic. Many prayers on your journey!
    Hope Sam is better! Mugs just threw up a chunk of food with a christmas ribbon in it! I was horrified, but he is fine!
    I am much better today, but ready for vacation! Thanks for asking!

  6. Songbird, you shelter yourself a lot less than most people do. You show us who you are with much courage, even when you don’t think that it feels like courage. You lead even when you hurt, by being so honest. Thank you for sharing that gift with us.

  7. Yes, the Katherines are right.
    Love you and am very grateful to know you.

  8. I so appreciate your candor, even about how hard, at times, it is to be candid.
    Such admiration.
    And thanks.

  9. Again, you give voice to the pain of so many… and you are so very loved for being able to be so honest and raw. XOXO

  10. this post wrecked me.
    thanks for your honesty.
    hugs to you. now i’m off to examine what it is you have touched inside of me. God’s messing with my innards….

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